“When the Money Runs Out: Do Cash Transfers Have Sustained Effects?” with Berk Özler, The World Bank

Event time: 
Thursday, September 15, 2016 - 12:00pm to 1:15pm
Institution for Social and Policy Studies (ISPS), Room A002 See map
77 Prospect St.
New Haven, CT 06511
(Location is wheelchair accessible)
Berk Özler, The World Bank
Event description: 


Abstract: We examine the medium-term effects of a two-year cash transfer program for adolescent girls on a broad range of outcomes. Just two years after the cessation of transfers, the substantial shortfall impacts of unconditional cash transfers (UCTs) completely disappeared: in fact, UCT recipients were less empowered and had worse marriage market outcomes than the control group. However, children born to UCT beneficiaries during the program had significantly higher height-for-age z-scores. On the other hand, for those who had already dropped out of school at baseline, conditional cash transfers (CCTs) produced a large increase in educational attainment, a sustained reduction in the total number of births, and a more educated pool of husbands. Even in this group, however, there were no gains in health, labor market outcomes, or empowerment. These findings suggest that while UCTs provide adequate safety nets for families during their eligibility periods ad CCTs can effectively contribute to sustained human capital accumulation, the current enthusiasm for the promise of cash transfer programs as a tool for transformative changes for their direct beneficiaries may be misguided.

Speaker: Berk Özler is a senior economist in the Development Research Group, Poverty Cluster at The World Bank. He received his B.Sc. in Mathematics from Bosphorous University in 1991, and his Ph.D in Economics from Cornell University in 2001. After working on poverty and inequality measurement, poverty mapping, and the 2006 World Development Report on Equity and Development earlier, he decided to combine his interests in cash transfer programs and HIV risks facing young women in Africa by designing a field experiment in Malawi. He has since been involved in a number of cluster-randomized field experiments. He is a co-founder of and a regular contributor to the Development Impact blog.

This workshop series is being sponsored by the ISPS Center for the Study of American Politics and The Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale with support from the Edward J. and Dorothy Clarke Kempf Fund.

Open to: 
General Public